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PUBLIC PROFILE: Jeanine Moy, Outreach Director, KS Wild

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Rogue Valley Messenger: How vulnerable is the national monument here in our backyard?

Jeanine Moy: All of the Monument is very vulnerable to illegal actions by Trump that could put it at-risk, legal limbo for years. Interior Secretary Zinke recommended that Trump reduce Monument boundaries – but didn’t say by how much. Zinke also recommended reduced Monument protections for the portion of the ~114,000-acres outside the Monument’s congressionally designated ~25,000-acre Soda Mountain Wilderness backcountry would become a faux “protected area” in name only. It remains to be seen whether Trump will attack more than the Utah monuments that he illegally reduced by a combined ~2 million acres, but the Cascade-Siskiyou is high on Zinke’s list for Trump to damage next if Trump continues his historically unprecedented anti-public-lands-protection rampage.

RVM: How much can be done when these decisions are made seemingly unilaterally?

JM: 99.2 percent of the public responses to the four-month Trump/Zinke “Monuments Review” asked that all our national monuments be left as they are or made larger. Zinke is blantantly ignoring the clear public voice to his own review. Our Senators Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Governor Kate Brown are our most effective Monument champions. The public needs to thank them and urge them to keep standing strong in Cascade-Siskiyou defense. Oregon’s U.S Rep. Greg Walden is the Monument’s primary enemy. Walden’s urgings to the Trump Administration are the reason Cascade-Siskiyou is on the hit-list. If Walden hears from his constituents that they want him to back off from his Cascade-Siskiyou attacks, he’ll have a harder time bashing the Monument with a straight face. Regardless, if Trump attempts to reduce Monument boundaries and/or protections, KS Wild will be going to court with the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and Oregon Wild to keep the Monument healthy and whole. The Antiquities Act congressionally authorizes presidents to protect public land as national monuments. The Antiquities Act does not authorize presidents to unprotect public land.      

RVM: With all of the bad news—or at least threats to southern Oregon’s environment—tell us some good news!

JM: Nature provides a classic allegory for my thoughts on this; just like trimming back grass, Administrative attacks from above makes the grassroots grow stronger!  Trump’s attempts to dismantle environmental protections stokes ongoing public outrage and is galvanizing masses of people to demand change at the State level. Here are three recent examples:

As already mentioned above, widespread support for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument has elevated Oregon-elected officials in become leaders for protecting these public lands. This will be an ongoing battle that the public and local legislators won’t give up on.

Further to the west, we celebrate a couple milestones for clean water in the beloved Smith River; recently on Dec. 7, the Oregon Water Resources Commission voted to protect the North Fork Smith River and its tributaries for fish, wildlife, recreation, livestock and domestic water use. This supports the July 2017 ruling that the North Fork be protected as an “Outstanding Resource Waters,” by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, maintaining that pollution must be strictly regulated to maintain the highest level of water quality. These designations answer thousands of Oregonians who overwhelmingly asked for this region to be protected from foreign-backed mining proposals in the last several years.

Most recently, we are rejoicing in Senator Merkley’s recent statement of being against the Jordan Cove fracked gas pipeline project. Overwhelming support from Oregonians across all walks of life have been fighting this disastrous proposal for a long while –the organizers of Rogue Riverkeeper and Rogue Climate, and others deserve a big shout out for tireless work to stop this pipeline proposal – what would be the biggest carbon dioxide-emitting project ever in Oregon.

RVM: Over the past ten years, forest fires throughout western states have become more frequent and more intense. Are there any indications these trends won’t continue?
JM: To clarify a few things about looking at forest fire trends; impacts from climate change make it really important to look at trends in forests fires over the last decade, BUT we should also be taking a broader look. Forest fires were generally larger and more intense 100 years ago than they are today. Fire is necessary for heathy forests around here—they have evolved for thousands of years with fire. The true heart of our forest fire “problem” is that our forests are less resilient due to a century of fire suppression policy and over-logging. We have created a landscape of more dry and less biodiverse forests, that are now subject to the biggest player in the game: climate change. Industrial timber plantations are the worst, as we see many of the ones that have burned in recent years have a lot of trouble reestablishing new trees.
So I think what we need to be asking is how do we reverse the trend of decreasing forest resiliency.  It’s not an easy question for our society to answer, because we are going to have to take a hard look in the face of climate change. We are going to have to change a lot of our habits to, one, leave older trees and encourage forests to regenerate and, two, curb our climate change trajectory before we will see these trends change.  
For those looking to learn more current information on fire, there is a great website with articles, videos, and research to check out at ForestFireFacts.org  

RVM: Part of protecting forests, rivers, etc. also is enjoying them. KS Wild also leads snowshoe hikes. Do you have a favorite place to take people?

JM: Whether leading a public tour or entertaining out-of-town guests in the snow, I love to take people along FS road 20 which is closed to motorized vehicles in the winter. Just west of Mt. Ashland, there are plenty of scenic vistas, and after an easy 2 miles you can take a picnic break at the Grouse Gap shelter. There are fantastic views of Mt. Shasta, the Marble Mountains, and the distant high Siskiyous. It’s also lovely to deviate uphill via the Mt. Ashland summit access road, travel the Rogue Valley rim through nodding hemlocks and firs with views toward Crater Lake and Mt. McLaughlin. This is a place I love to visit during all seasons for a satisfying alpine fix.  

RVM: KS Wild has its 16th annual Siskiyou Film Festival coming up. Anything new this year? Is there a standout movie for you? Is there a theme you recognize in the submissions for this year’s festival? 

JM: Though we are always excited for Siskiyou FilmFest season, this year it will be indispensable as a refuge for community gathering and inspiration. The Filmfest, held at the Grants Pass High School Performing Arts Center, always has a strong community feel—we serve local food, run on volunteer help, and are sponsored by local businesses. We look forward to hosting the many local organizations that come out for the Community Showcase, as well as empowering environmental films. This genre has long served to expose environmental problems, but now there are more stories of restoration, renewal, and winning. After reviewing many films, it’s clear that the environmental film community is elevating the voices of those that are not often heard. They are covering the stories of those fighting on the frontlines against corporatized-governments, about the crucial need for all types of people to unite and protect what we love and need most. The messages reflect our times: we have an opportunity to be retrospective, utilize science, realize our reliance on healthy ecosystems, and utilize our humanity for creating a more resilient world.

One that we are really excited to feature is “A River’s Last Chance” by Washington-based filmmaker Shane Anderson. This brand-new film follows the harrowing story of the Eel River in northern California; from historical effects of over-harvesting of trees in its watershed, to the modern agricultural stresses of wine and cannabis production in the region. I think it is really well done, and it is something that audiences will find really relevant to our scene here in southern Oregon.  

   

 

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